Kapaa High, KCC students team up for Mahelona project

KAPAA — The last class of the day is over at Kapaa High School, but sophomore Juliana Tampus is working on an art project with some of her fellow Art Club members.

Not all students would sacrifice their Friday afternoons and evenings to stay in school and work, but then again, not all students would go out of their way to make the lives of the elderly at Mahelona Medical Center a little easier.

“We work with the people here in long-term care,” Tampus said. “It’s really awesome, but it’s kinda sad sometimes. They don’t have very much time and they don’t have a lot of people come to see them. But I know that we’re making a difference.”

Tampus, along with Heather Faretta, Malia Searvy and Tiallah Mortell, are painting and crafting different art projects to work with the residents at the center. The plan is to start the art pieces at school and finish them with residents at Mahelona.

The Digital Media Department at Kauai Community College is raising awareness of the project by documenting what is being called “Healing Art.”

Michael Gabriel, a KCC student studying digital media and graphic design, is helping video the project.

“The residents at Mahelona help them finish their art pieces,” he said. “We’re trying to shine the spotlight on how these students spending time with people in the home can not only benefit these residents, but the students as well.”

Vanessa Owens, an art teacher and adviser for the Art Club at Kapaa High, told students she wants this project to be beautiful and as simple as possible so residents at Mahelona can follow along and participate.

“We’re cutting out these frames and we’re doing a bunch of them right now,” Owens told the club members. “We’re doing them first so we know how to guide them through this.”

Watching the students work left an impression on Kyle Swigart, another KCC student helping out with the video. The former Kapaa High graduate is proud of the next generation reaching out to members of the community.

“We thought it was a great idea to see the connection between these students and their kupuna. It’s cool to see the community involved,” Swigart said. “I was a Kapaa grad, so just to see the growth of the school and the students is awesome.”


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